A 12-year-old girl was reportedly sexually assaulted at a Baltimore skating rink by three young men Saturday. Her alleged assailants ranged in age from two teenagers 15 and 17 years-old, as well as a 24-year-old man.
Three people accused of raping a 12-year-old girl Saturday at the Skateworks roller rink in Woodlawn took turns holding her down and assaulting her in a storage room, a police report of the incident says.
Baltimore County officials, who were on the verge of closing the troubled rink months ago because of frequent disturbances there, deferred questions to the police department.
“We’re concerned about this situation, and we’re sure that this matter will be monitored and reviewed,” said Lt. Robert McCullough, a Baltimore County Police Department spokesman. “We will be reviewing it for any further action. We want to reassure the community that we care.”
Police say they have had to deal with a near-constant stream of complaints of rowdy crowds and disturbances at Skateworks since it opened in an industrial park near Security Boulevard in December 2008. Most of the incidents — including one in which a 26-year-old man was hit by gunfire in February 2009 — have occurred outside the rink as patrons left the facility.
In April, code-enforcement officials and Skateworks’ owners hammered out a deal that allowed the rink to stay open for another year. The owners agreed to work more closely with the local police precinct, to close at midnight, and to hire four off-duty police officers to help with security on weekend nights.
Only three county police officers were working at the rink Saturday night, when the rape occurred, although five Skateworks security guards were on duty, said Paul W. Gardner, an attorney who represents the rink’s owners. He said that the assault, while regrettable, should not be a cause for drastic action on the part of authorities.
“I think it would be unfair for the office of code enforcement to shut them down because of this incident,” Gardner said. He conceded that had the three police officers not been on the job, “then there might have been room to question the safety aspect.”
“We’re trying to find out what happened and where it happened and to try to prevent it from ever happening again,” said Gardner, who spent part of Monday and Tuesday reviewing surveillance video of the building’s interior that was recorded between 7 p.m. and midnight on Saturday. “We’re desperately looking for the facts, for any sign that there are males pushing someone where they don’t want to go.”
Gardner said the rink’s owners were also reviewing the video, a process that he said was far from complete.
“I don’t want the public to rush to judgment,” Gardner said. “Not to take away from the young lady and the pain that she feels, and will feel for the rest of her life, but rapes occur any time and any place. When a rape occurs at a school or at a mall, we don’t talk about closing that school or that mall.”
The suspects — one of them 24 years old, the others 15 and 17 — were arrested at the scene. A police account says two of the youths grabbed the girl and dragged her into a storage room, and that all three forced her to perform sexual acts on them and then raped her.
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